Unsung Heroes | History Corner | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Government of India

Unsung Heroes Detail

Unsung Heroes Detail

Gouranga Charan Das

Jagatsinghapur, Odisha

August 05, 2022

Gouranga Charan Das was born on 26 January 1899 in village Bagalpur of the present Jagatsinghpur district. He was physically disabled as one of his hands was defected. But he possessed innumerable energy and spirit which made him fight for the people to whom injustice was inflicted. After completing his primary education he worked as ‘Amin’ to support his family. But the suffering and misery of the people around him and their distress urged Gouranga Charan to devote his time to social service. A series of floods in 22 Mouja areas in the early twenties and the spread of cholera galvanized him into action. He along with Nilamani Pradhan formed Relief Committee in his village to distribute relief among the flood victims. His relief work was appreciated by Gopabandhu Das. In 1930 he participated in the salt satyagraha in Inchudi and was arrested. He had to taste the police lathi in Patna camp jail where his condition became critical.

In 1932 he was attracted to Socialist ideas by participating in various peasant movements against the traditional zemindars. That was the era when atrocities of the landlords (zemindars) resulted in a series of major farmers’ uprisings in Odisha. In 1935 he mobilised 10,000 farmers against the zemindars and aroused nationalistic sentiment among them.

He was the first political leader in Odisha who initiated the movement for the entry of untouchables to the temple. In his own village in Bagalpur, he created a precedent by asking the untouchables of his village to enter the famous Dadhibaman temple en masse. In 1937, he successfully organized an agriculture fair in Bahugram in spite of stiff opposition by the government officials and asked the peasants and the people to participate in the struggle for freedom. In 1938, he participated in the Prajamandal Movement in Dhenkanal where he was severely beaten by the police who threw him to the road unconscious. He found himself lodged in jail after he gained consciousness. He also participated in the Quit India Movement in 1942 by remaining in underground.

He was elected to Odisha Legislative Assembly in 1946 from the Govindpur constituency. After independence, he as a chairman of Cuttack District Council supervised many welfare schemes for the people. He passed away on 19 February 1972.